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Introduction – Always Hyperactive

To the song of  Herman van Veens „Schnell weg da, weg da weg“ („Get out quick, out, out“) - people running, scurrying around, hyperactive, all over. Like remotely controlled people connected by headphones connected to smartphones vigouously speaking into emptiness. A mother on a mobile phone annoyed and coordinating  events, her child shouting. A father running to the kindergarten two small children behind trying to natch his pace. Another person jogging while pushing a pram, phoning while swallowing a red pill. In a cafe half faces behind laptops. Always in stress and ready for competition in all situations of life. “We must remain competitive!” is the central theme of the globalized world which unites continents and enterprises along with their employees. Whoever wants to be part of the labour market and society must arm himself from youth onwards with every fiber of his body. Our lives are now inherently competitive.  Our self control is merely the subjective side of an objective compulsion. To quote Byung-Chul Han professor for Philosophy and cultural sciences at the  university of arts in  Berlin: “Formerly companies were in competition with one another. Within companies however  solidarity was possible. Today however each one competes more and more with the others even within a company. This absolute competition raises productivity considerably but it destroys solidarity and  public spirit”. How was it possible to come to this development of a totally flexible person?  Was it unavoidable? The film “Marketable people” investigates this and the following questions: What does it do to people when they always have to be marketable? And what happens to our society? Were there any alternatives and how can we get out of this situation now?


Where does this come from?

Based on high rates of growth after the second  world war, social rights and social advancement for large sections of the population were fought for in labour disputes. These  were fundamental for  our society right up to the nineties. Until that time the western world was mainly characterized by a world of large industries and Offices with an army of employees enjoying normal tariff employment.  The so called “normal employment situation” (with permanent employment, and dismissal protection which provided a certain measure of social security)  was generally the rule in those days. Solidarity and public spirit were highly valued by most people.

A slow decline in the high rates of growth started in the seventies. Thus it became fashionable since 1980ties for people in the US as also in the UK to call for a lean state and the removal of all barriers to trade to support competition with market.  Simultaneously everything was done to remove all limits to global competition.

These neoliberal policies were first introduced into the center of  Europe at the beginning of the new millennium during the government of Schröder/Fischer. Even today the SPD is proud of the fact that they positioned the country so well by means of a massive lowering of corporate taxes and a deregulation of Labour so as to provide German companies with enormous cost benefits. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, SPD, speaking in front of the German employer’s association: “If you would be fair enough to remember, the decisive tax reduction – to the extent of 60 Billion Euro – happened during the time of the social democratic government: with a lowering of the top tax rate, with a lowering of the entry tax rate, with a reduction of the corporate tax. Also the increased flexibility of working hours, the reduction by half of the contributions to unemployment insurance …. “

Since then these policies of reduction of the corporate taxes and the relaxation of labour laws are seen as the key to attracting international investors. And Germany is the best example of the success: best economic data right up to the present!


Flexible labour in flexible production

The other side of such success is however also the entry of flexible Humans into  flexible production. Michael Hartmann, Professor for the sociology of elites reckons for us: “ Twenty years ago 67.7% of labour was employed in a full time job with social security. Today it is only 39%. 43.5% of the people work and live with existential insecurity! Almost half of all those employed find themselves in practical training, repeated temporary employment, service contracts or agency work. Many well qualified people need 3 jobs to be able to make ends meet.”

In fact even the completely unsecured jobs of the „Crowd workers“ (internet workers) and the “Gig-Economy” ( Piecework and payment per App) are spreading fast. These jobs are fee-based and often the one who quotes the lowest cost gets the job. A lector checks the book of a well-known publishing house for an hourly wage of 7.90 €/ hour. That is not the minimum wage, but the person is self-employed and decides the price for her work on her own. A press photographer gets 40€ for his picture in print. Even teachers and professors have started being  employed as freelancers. On Internet platforms such as “My Hammer craftsmen” offer their services. Here only that person gets to work who offers to work for the lowest hourly wage for example 5.80€. Further the crowd worker is being continuously monitored. Should his rating fall below 75% he only gets lower paying jobs. Corporations such as Audi, Telekom, Henkel, Deutsche Bank or Coca Cola, but even NGOs such as Greenpeace are moving their work out to crowd platforms.  A very new idea is the so called standby contract. This is the basis on which, for example, salespeople at H&M  or couriers at Foodora work.  They must be on standby for 6 days a week, almost around the clock, and are then allowed to work only the guaranteed 10 to 15 hours a week – and that too for just a pittance. Pensioners poverty is pre-programmed.


H&M Germany:  Wages that are fair and  support livelihoods, This was the title under which H&M published its “Program for improving relations between workers and management “. Working under  “improved working conditions” is right on top of our agenda. Everyone from the boss to the simple salesperson use the informal “Du” when addressing each other. The tone is casual in the clothing stores of Hennes & Mauritz and the atmosphere there is also meant to be like that. The smartly dressed H&M director for sustainability Helena Helmersson declares that they are trying “to encourage  the workers in low wage countries  to get organized and to demand fairer wages. Much as we do in Europe when we feel unfairly treated”.

 Veronika Marguard 27, who is a salesperson at H&M in Hamburg doesn‘t know whether she should laugh or cry as she sees this declaration. At H&M there is hardly any works council member who has not been massively harassed, punished with an Internet ban and dismissed without notice for trying to achieve „better working conditions“. With her standby contract she makes hardly 800€ per month in spite of being continuously on standby. She can’t do any other job on the side as there is always the threat of a call up to come to work. Since that is often just for 3 or 4 hours and the commuting to and from would be expensive she has rented a room in the inner city. The rent has just gone up to 560€. The worst aspect of it is that there is no solidarity among the colleagues. Everyone is dependent on getting more hours of work than the guaranteed 10 hours. So often quite a few try to get hold of hours at the expense of others. The work itself is usually fun.  But she won’t be able to keep this up for long.  In spite of being unusually frugal she still can’t get by. But somewhere down the line she would also want to start a family and have children.


China, Guangzhou: H&M have more than 400 supplier factories just in the peoples republic of China where the enterprise supposedly “is encouraging workers to get organized and stand up for fair wages”. Not quite just by chance we visited the MASSUE FASHION LTD factory in Guangzhou at the top of the pacific delta where Honkong is at the tip facing the ocean.  The hourly wages here are 3 EURO. There are Labour unions, but they are state run cheer leading organizations who distinguish themselves by always trying to prevent strikes.  However recently a spontaneously organized strike did break out here. This was then put down with great brutality and many arrests  by the police. The strike was against the fact that MASSUE FASHIONB LTD  was to outsource half of its production to Nigeria.  The hourly wage there is just above 1 EURO …

 Kadma in Nigeria is a city with an seemingly gigantic textile industry. Even at a first glimpse however we are corrected by bystanders.  The Nigerian textile industry has lost more than 2 million jobs to China since the 1970s. The decline started in 1997 when the Nigerian government decreed the total liberalization of the textile market. Soon thereafter exact copies of the unique African designs and materials started arriving in the Nigerian market coming from China where they could be produced much cheaper. The local textile industry is now, with a few exceptions,  reduced to printing the cotton materials imported from China and has thus lost more than half of its work force.  The   D.V. Fashion Limited 1, a subsidiary of the MASSUE FASHION LTD of Guangzhou is now building a modern Textile factory here but they are not thinking of creating more than a maximum of 800 jobs.


Hamburg, Germany:  Mia fries wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and practices her yoga. If the children are already awake her husband must make the breakfast  - if he is around.  Benno Fries worked for six years as a  lecturer at the university.  There he had only temporary contracts. The longest one was for a year. More than half of his working hours he had to spend on applications for research funds for his next temporary contract. After six years he had had enough. During his studies he had jobbed as a truck driver. Now he has started doing that again. That is hard on his wife Mia. Previously Benno could always take the 3 year old Maja to the Kindergarten, and the 7 year old Frieder to school. Mia has be at work at 8 a.m. at the private Asklepios Clinic in St Georg/Hamburg. She is a medical doctor.


“Sleeping is done only at the end of the month”

Benno Fries is a trucker, for the next 7 days he is on the road.  Hamburg - Dortmund – Leipzig - Berlin – the first stops today. With him we experience what has become of the once so proud “Captains of the road” due to the deregulation of lorry traffic throughout the EU: “We are no longer humans. One can abuse us, insult us, push us around. That hurts.”

What outrages the truckers most when they meet at their meeting points is the daily increasing competition from the East-European drivers, who already control most of the long distance tours. This is really low wage labour says a Dutchman indignantly: “In their countries they can live for 300€ like kings, but they couldn’t give a damn what happens to us!

2300 € a month plus expenses is Benno’s salary. The working hours are officially 9 hours per day, these can however be increased to 13 hours, and thrice in a week even up to 15 hours. And even these maximum limits are exceeded nationwide with the help of manipulative tricks by many freight forwarders. “We truckers must pay the fines when caught in road traps and special inspections, not the freight forwarders. No complaining, otherwise I can go and pick up my papers right away. When I’m gone there are 3 east European truckers waiting for my job”


A week later, in the evening at about 11 p.m. , the family Fries. Benno Fries’s partner Mia just can’t carry on any longer, She’s crying. Why have he done his doctorate when he not there for his family for most of the time and still can’t contribute in equal measure to the family budget? She has to do an unpalatable full time job at the hospital and now once again have to fight for an extension of her contract. To add to that for most of the time I have the responsibility of the children most of the time.

Niels van Quaquebeke, Professor for „Leadership and Organizational Behavior“, cautions us that it has become commonplace in our society “that economic thinking dominates even our social relationships: People are my friends who can help me to advance. What do I have to give to get how much? The economic aspects of morals are pretty much totalitarian. If you fail you fail. And if you fail you have only yourself to blame. The individual must carry the whole responsibility  for his failure. There is no ethics of failure”


Agadez/ Niger: We meet Muhammed Yusuf a 24 year old Nigerian from Kachma at a dusty bus stop in Agadez in the northern neighboring state of Niger. He was chosen by his family as the strongest and cleverest of his clan. Since the 1980 most of them are unemployed. For those growing up, Europe seems to be the only realistic perspective. But he’s back again, back from Libya , where on his planned route to Europe he was sold and tortured for months. Unseen by us a man emerges from the masses who are flooding the oasis city of Agadez on the edge of the Sahara. It is Yusuf’s people’s smuggler. Yususf shouts at him, that because of him his friend had to die in Libya. Abhai (not his real name) just shrugs his shoulders, says he’s sorry. Desperate and hungry Yusuf aks him if he at least has something to eat. Abhai answers in passing “God will help you”

 Today Agadez is the northernmost city that west Africa’s  without papers can reach – a part of the economic zone of  west African states that guarantees visa free travel in the area. That makes Agadez the point where most of those with the dream of a better life get into the hands of the people smugglers. But Yusuf is back from this Odyssey sobered, burnt out and hopeless. He wouldn’t be able to survive going back to his Parents. Using the collected savings of his family he and a friend Bundu started off months ago on their way to Agadez. He had been warned by his friends of the dangers of life in Libya and not to entrust himself to the wrong people’s smugglers. But Abahi seemed honest to them and so they booked a passage with him via Algeria to Italy. He knew that there was a way through the Sahara to Algeria, but in the desert there are no signposts and after four days he heard “Welcome to Libya”. Yusuf thought he was dreaming but soon noticed that Abhai had sold him and his friend Bundu to an intermediary. His hands were bound and together with others four of them were bundled like goats and loaded on to the back of a  Toyota. In the Libyan city of Sabha , known as the birthplace of the Libyan leader Gaddafi , they were dumped at a well-known bakery on to the roadside next to a sign which said “for sale”. In Sabha he and his friend were bought by a local man by the name of Tukur in traditional robes who was accompanied by two bulky minions. “ In Turku’s house they only spoke English and shouted money money money. We were to call our families and ask them to send 100 Dollars as a ransom. Our parents said they couldn’t possible pay. We are then beaten so that they could hear our screams and complaints over the phone. I had to see my friend Bundu die due to the beating”.

 In the confusion over his friend’s death he was lucky enough to escape. A driver took pity on him and then recovered the cost of picking him up from the International Organization of UN for migrants. They also paid for the transport of thousands of the unfortunates back to city of Agadez in Niger. The UN agency is also willing to pay for Yusuf’s ticket back to his parents, but Mohammed Yusuf would rather die of shame. “I have messed it up and I have only myself to blame”


Others have managed to make it …

 Germany, Wustermark:  6000 Kilometers further north we hear almost the same sentence: “I have not done anything with my life. I have only myself to blame”. Benno is again in the driver’s seat. He arrives at Rossmann’s central warehouse of in Wustermark/Berlin. After his lorry is docked in, a small army of warehouse workers with the tags “Promota.de” start to unload and stow away the goods within a 24.000 square meter warehouse area. None of these diligent bees speaks German. But then we hear Hausa the main language in the north of Nigeria and the south of Niger. We find out then in Hausa that the warehouse workers are contract workers. It is their job to remove and fill  the goods on the shelves of the Rossmann outlets both here and mainly in the Berlin outlets – always at night.  In the day time they are brought back to their quarters which are provided foe them by the Promota company. When he was new on the job the accommodation was in a room with 4 beds. In the washbasin one could just about wash one’s clothes , cooking was done on a  hotplate that they had to buy and eat without a table. “Officially we now receive a wage of 8.50€ per hour but the alleged costs of the company are deducted. 150 -250€ for the room, the cost of transport and the clothing which the firm provides. That means hardly more than 5€ per hour remain. But that is still some 500€ more at month’s end than similar work in Nigeria,” says Coulibaly Yahyah from Gombe in the East of  Nigeria. That way they can send home at least a few hundred dollars at month. This is already his fifth workplace. Every three months he is lent out to somewhere else. Always unfamiliar people, always unfamiliar firms, unfamiliar rules.  The main thing however is that the people back at home think Im doing well. 


A visit to Oxfam

 Oxfam is introducing its new report „An Economy for the 1%”. Eight Billionaires have as much in assets as the poorer half of the population of the world. The gap between rich and poor is larger than expected. The concentration of wealth in the hands of ever fewer is increasing, while hundreds of thousands do not have enough to eat, and billions of people more or less just about exist.  That also has to do with the power of the international corporations: They use aggressive tax avoidance strategies, move their profits to tax havens and force states into a ruinous competition for lower taxation rates. We all are the losers! The worst hit are those living in poor countries. Due to tax avoidance countries are missing out at present on at least 100 Billion US Dollars per Year”


An Epidemic of psychological complaints

We are in a hospital. Benno Fries‘ partner Mia Fries has been  an internist for about 5 years, who at the end of the year always has the insecurity that at the end of the year her contract will not be extended or that the conditions of the contract will deteriorate. She has experienced how the number of nurses in her department have been reduced by a third within these five years. Since the work has to certified,  invoiced and meticulously documented, there is less and less time left to treat the patients. She treats a patient who suffers from cardiac arrythmia.  However she explains that internal diseases such as cardiac arrythmias, high blood pressure, over active and under active thyroid (Hypo- and Hyper- thyroidism) more and more often have a psychological component to them. The psychology professor Dr.  Mattias Burisch speaks of a spiral of exhaustion. “Psychological  overloading due to factors such as work-pressure, uncertainty, worries about future and problematic interaction within the working environment has led in the past 20 years to a true “epidemic” of psychological disorders.”


The marketable clinic

 More than a thousand staff and patients have gathered together in front of the Asklepios clinic in Hamburg St. Georg. They are protesting against the private  owners who want to outsource further parts of the clinic with the intention to save 20 Million Euros per year in personnel costs, because the outsourced colleagues are no longer covered by the tariff regulations. Among the demonstrators, we discover Mia Fries. She tells us that since the introduction of DRGs (Diagnosis Related Groups) the number of medical personnel has been reduced and the number of Operations has risen. It is like working in a factory. The patients are hardly treated like human beings, but much rather priced in with their illnesses  as with a commodity. On weekends, as the only doctor on duty with just 2 nurses, she has to look after 43 patients.  At this level of staffing it is not possible to insure even a basic level of patient care. On Mondays she is always happy if none of her patients have died. And the hygienic measures as required by law cannot be adhered to. In times of multiresistant germs that is life threatening for patients. When one goes from one patient to the next only very few disinfect their stethoscopes. That is one way for infections to spread - to say nothing of disinfecting the hands. There is just not enough time, This is a problem which not only the private clinics have. 40,000 people die yearly in Germany as a result of this staff shortage”.

 Asklepios had such a high profit in 2015 – earned on the backs of the personnel and patients – that the owner Bernhard gr. Broermann bought the luxury hotel Atlantic (in Hamburg) as a measure to avoid paying taxes.


The consequences of unilateral deregulation

The decisive reforms which transformed the German health system into a profit oriented business enterprise were undertaken along with the deregulation of labour by the first red-green federal government. Heiner Flassbeck the German financial secretary from 1989 to 1999 points to the fact that these reforms and the lowering of labour costs in the newly created Euro currency union had catastrophic consequences, because originally, a synchronous development of economic and social policies had been agreed upon. “when I invite my friend (France) to sign a contract with me (the Euro), and then at the moment of signing kick him in the shin or otherwise hinder him from running or working with me, then that is fraud.”

the lowering of labour costs due to the reform of labour laws  gave the German export industries competitive advantages.  And today, pointing to the German successes, for all countries in trouble, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France   there is an absolute recommendation for a deregulation of the labour market with no other options and indeed for certain countries this solution is now being forced upon them.


The ruinous competition of the export champions

 Just following the role model of Germany has fatal consequences. Not all can be export champions. A nation with a strong export surplus always needs other nations that import more than they export.  If France soon also terrorizes the neighboring economies with low wages (and Spain, Italy, Greece are also trying to do the same) then we all will be the losers. The wages will be lower all over, Employees all over will  lose out on rights and security.   They are all wooing the markets so that these so called investors can expect the best yields with the lowest labour costs – a competition which only delivers a progressive  impoverishment and deprivation of all EU citizens.

 But nevertheless today, pointing to the German successes, for all countries in trouble, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal there is an absolute recommendation for a deregulation of the labour market with no other options and indeed for certain countries this solution is now being forced upon them.


I have delivered

Shortly before his state visit to Berlin at the end of January 2016 Matteo Renzi Italy’s prime minister said:  “Now I can report to Berlin about progress. Italy is now no longer a problem for the EU. I have delivered!” he had delivered the Labour reform know as the “Jobs act”. So now in Italy too: deregulated Labour.

Giuliano Poletti, the labour minister defends the reform: “In the first month after the new framework of law came into effect more than 160,000 new long term contracts were concluded – almost double the number as compared to the same month a year before.” In reality however the unemployment level after a short reduction for a couple of months,  went up again to 13.7%. And even now 42.6% of the people in the 15-24 year age group are without work.  

Portugal too has delivered. Until recently Portugal was the model candidate among the so called debtor countries because they had implemented the labour market reform in detail. In spite of that the economic data has hardly changed significantly, quite the contrary. Portugal’s total debt is almost one third higher than in Greece.

Spain too has delivered. With the help of lowered wages in 2015 the economy in Spain grew by 3%, but the unemployment rate stayed at its highest level ever. Among the youth 53.7% are without work and that too even though 9 out of 10 university graduates leave the country. The wages have come close to the levels in Greece so that 3€ per hour is no longer unusual.

All over the south of the Euro zone the same development. All these countries have to deliver. No, not to their own voters. Those who have been voted in deliver the yield to the investors who expect that yield with the lowest wages. All this has little to do with democracy.  Whomever the Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese and French vote for, they have to deliver the impoverishment of their citizens.


Marketable employees soon in France too?

 The newcomer Emmanuel Macron has now, shortly after the vote, started tackling  what he considers to be the most important economic project :  the deregulation of the labour laws. Doing so he wants to, at last,  follow the German example and perhaps overtake Germany. The project is one of great significance even within the rest of Europe.

 On the one hand Macron wants to largely get rid of the protection from termination of employment so as to simplify the process of dismissal of workers and reduce the cost of redundancies for employers. On the other hand, and this is the core of the project, the object is to break the power of the nationally organized labour unions and the nation-wide validity of the collective bargaining agreements. After the deregulation of labour laws last year it is already possible to decide upon questions of working hours on a factor by factory basis. In future it would be possible to decide upon other matters such as remuneration between the enterprises and employee representatives. The company agreements are to have priority over the national labour laws. Only if a labour union represents more than 50% of the workers would they be allowed to take part in the negotiations at the factory level. If that were to happen, not only would the minority labour unions be left out of the loop, the power of the national labour unions and the scope of the industry-wide wage agreements would have been broken.

 All over the south of the Euro zone the same development. All these countries have to deliver. No, not to their own voters. Those who have been voted in deliver the yield to the investors who expect that yield with the lowest wages. This has little to do with democracy.

 When politicians like Angela Merkel say, Germany has full employment, she doesn´t speak about the big part in these figures of precarious workers as well as the employees without social security.


Solidarity instead of competition

 Different movements against this situation are developing in the midst of this generally dominating egoism. The public welfare balance sheet is the centerpiece of the movement of the public welfare economy which was brought to life in 2010. The initiator is the Austrian Christian Felber, professor at the economics university in Vienna.

The Berliner neighborhood Oberbaum-Kiez lying between the river Spree and the  tracks of the S-Bahn is an Eldorado for international property investors. In the middle of this area lies “Oktoberdruck”  a printing press. It belongs to its staff. The company orients itself around public welfare, pays attention to fair working conditions and equality. Their account is with the public welfare bank. Printing is done with easily degradable biologically based colors on paper with the highest environmental standards. Besides that Oktoberdruck is one of the first companies to  draw up a public  welfare balance sheet.  This balance sheet measures not only the profit but also aspects such as the reduction of  negative ecological impact and the quality of the workplace. All these ecological and social factors are rated, and a points system shows how great the commitment for public welfare is. The public welfare bank makes its decisions as to the financing conditions based upon this balance sheet data.

Hundreds of companies have already signed on to Felbers concept of public welfare. “We have just recently seen that an economy without ethics and a measure of decency does not function”. This sentence comes from the head of the Sparda Bank Helmut Lind. He too draws up a public welfare balance sheet, and refers to article 151 of the Bavarian constitution whereby the totality of economic activity must serve public welfare.


New social models in the age of flexible work

Many part time jobs with repetitive work will be  destroyed with the advent of the digital economy. “We will soon no longer need a lawyer who must tortuously go through case studies to find citations. That will be done by machines. Those activities remain for humans which cannot do without human capabilities. And these activities will probably be more flexible and such as in the case of the care of the parents badly paid for”, says Helgo Klaatt  of the network for an unconditional basic income. “We must secure our society in the age of digitization”  says the head of Telekom  Timotheus Höttges in agreement. We need innovative solutions to be able to maintain our social systems. The unconditional basic income could for example be paid for by the large internet companies whose profits are increasingly financed by the analysis of data. And Helgo Klatt: “we don’t want to abolish work, merely to abolish the compulsion to work. If people have a choice of working, but do not have to, then they work with more joy and are more willing to perform their tasks.”


New social models in the age of flexible work

 Many part time jobs with repetitive work will be  destroyed with the advent of the digital economy. “We will soon no longer need a lawyer who must tortuously go through case studies to find citations. That will be done by machines. Those activities remain for humans which cannot do without human capabilities. And these activities will probably be more flexible and such as in the case of the care of the parents badly paid for”, says Helgo Klaatt  of the network for an unconditional basic income. “We must secure our society in the age of digitization”  says the head of Telekom  Timotheus Höttges in agreement. We need innovative solutions to be able to maintain our social systems. The unconditional basic income could for example be paid for by the large internet companies whose profits are increasingly financed by the analysis of data. And Helgo Klatt: “we don’t want to abolish work, merely to abolish the compulsion to work. If people have a choice of working, but do not have to, then they work with more joy and are more willing to perform their tasks.”

 In the US Steven Hill predicts that within 10 years half the employed will be working in precarious work such as Gig-Economy. A crowd worker sits at an internet computer, logs into the platform “Mechanical Turk” and receives an assignment: arranging clothing in on-line shops, writing advertisement for furniture or making decisions for the US schooling system as to which pictures may be shown on school internet pages. During the assignment he will be continuously assessed. If the assessment falls below 75% he will only be assigned lower paid jobs. In the Gig-economy an App informs one of possible assignments. Here too the same system of digital assessment. Here too there is no social insurance and legal protection. This is already shaking the foundations of the working world in the US. To avoid a social catastrophe Hill suggests a state run insurance system which is organized on the lines of the German  social insurance for artists. 


Epilogue

 Benno is again in his truck. Hopefully not much longer he rejoices. The first discussions with an Australian University in Adelaide were promising. Benno applied for a post as a professor in-perpetuity.  If everything works out his family will hopefully come out with him too. He sees no perspective for his family in this EU without borders. “But I am afraid to tell Mia about it. If she doesn’t want to come along I can’t destroy the family and go out there alone. But then I would vote in the next elections for the AFD (Extreme right wing isolationist German political party) even if I makes me shudder at the thought. Since they are the only ones who clearly oppose this free trade area EU.”

 

   

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